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2nd January

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I’m not sure which I prefer; the anticipation in the days leading up to Christmas or the feeling of satisfaction when the tree and decorations have been taken down and everything is back to normal. Older son left on Wednesday to celebrate New Year in London. He announced his engagement on Christmas day, so there has been lots of excitement and planning, I have already asked the mayor if he can get married here in France and he is quite happy to marry them at the mairie and give us the key to our very pretty local church. Daughter’s nine friends arrived as older son left it so it has been a very busy few days, having thirteen people in the house; now six have left, all on different flights which was a bit complicated. A couple this morning were meant to leave at 530 am to get a flight from Bordeaux, but slept through their alarm, luckily I was up early and noticed their hire car was still outside at 630, there was a mad panic as they threw on their clothes and rushed out. Now I have a huge pile of bedding waiting by the machine and I’m waiting for the shops to open so I can buy washing liquid, yesterday evening we ran out of beer too, the visitors couldn’t understand that here in France there really isn’t anywhere open to buy basic groceries on Sundays, but they were happy with gin and tonics instead. They have all had fun, lunch out, walks, cross country skiing, we’ve been travelling in convoy in three cars to various destinations and Philip has been directing outdoor activities. New Year’s Eve was celebrated in French style, with a four course meal and games in between each course, then we opened the champagne & sang Auld Lang Syne outside on the terrace, and daughter & friends continued partying into the early hours. The best thing about having visitors is that they are all sleeping in the main house and we are sleeping in the barn, I think everyone appreciates that arrangement and they enjoy the challenge of keeping log fires burning in the stoves in the main house. It has been strangely mild again, cold at night, but it was 23 degrees at midday in the sun yesterday, I am sure nature will compensate and it will become much colder soon.

My laptop is giving up the ghost, the battery stopped working years ago, but it worked as long as it was plugged into the mains, but now it only works if I hold the adapter plug at a certain angle in the back of the laptop and stops instantly if I let go, then takes 5 minutes to start up again. I might have to buy a new one.

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